Business

XV Beacon named top US hotel by Condé Nast Traveler

“I tell my staff that when someone walks in these doors you want to treat them like your old friend from college who has never seen your apartment,” said Amy Finsilver, general manager of XV Beacon.

Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff

“I tell my staff that when someone walks in these doors you want to treat them like your old friend from college who has never seen your apartment,” said Amy Finsilver, general manager of XV Beacon.

When Gordon Reese came to Boston to welcome a new grandchild into the world last year, XV Beacon rushed him to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in a Lexus for each false alarm.

Amateur photographer Bruce Feldman said the boutique hotel brought him and his wife a complimentary bottle of champagne on their anniversary. Noël Obourn said the concierge sent her mother a bouquet of flowers for a birthday she had forgotten.

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“Everyone knows me by name, everyone understands my preferences,” said Obourn, a Connecticut native who travels to Boston for work and often stays at the hotel. “I don’t have to even ask for things. They just magically appear.”

Guests say the masterful personal service they receive at XV Beacon is one reason the 63-room luxury property on Beacon Hill was just named the best hotel in the United States by Condé Nast Traveler magazine. More than 76,600 readers cast votes and XV Beacon rose to the top among 7,700 nominated properties.

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The magazine’s list is dominated by boutique accommodations but also includes larger competitors, such as the Langham Chicago and the Hotel Sorella in Houston.

Five other New England establishments were among the top 25, including the Wauwinet in Nantucket (No. 8), the Chanler at Cliff Walk in Newport, R.I. (No. 21), and three Vermont hotels: the Pitcher Inn in Warren (No. 6); Twin Farms in Barnard (No. 7); and Hotel Vermont in Burlington (No. 14).

A night at XV Beacon costs anywhere from $325 for a smaller room in the winter to $3,000 for a two-bedroom suite in the peak summer season. The standalone property competes against well-known luxury hotel brands, such as the Four Seasons and the Mandarin Oriental in Boston.

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The hotel debuted 15 years ago as one of the first boutique properties in the city. Owner Paul Roiff, a real estate developer known for Boston’s famed Mistral bistro in the South End, said he opened the hotel independently because he wanted it to reflect the history and architecture of the Back Bay.

He also said the personal service guests rave about is very deliberate. Attention to detail has been the “nucleus” of the XV Beacon since day one.

“We knew we had to be better than everyone else,” Roiff said. “We thought that would be our competitive advantage with only 63 rooms. We would meet daily and go over who was coming and how to prepare for that.”

General manager Amy Finsilver said the staff still prepares for each guest, but now they are aided by online resources such as Google and social media sites. A concierge looks up unknown patrons prior to arrival and, when possible, will print out and frame personal photographs to be placed in their rooms.

The hotel keeps files on all its guests, nearly half of which are repeat customers, to maintain records of their preferences and tastes.

For example, if the staff sends up a complimentary cheese and fruit plate and housekeepers find the cheese untouched, it will be omitted from the dish next time. Obourn said she once casually mentioned her distaste for lavender years ago and bath salts in that scent have never appeared in her room since.

“We really get to know our guests and get the staff to pick up on their likes and dislikes,” Finsilver said. “I tell my staff that when someone walks in these doors you want to treat them like your old friend from college who has never seen your apartment. You want them to feel comfortable and taken care of.”

‘I tell my staff that when someone walks in these doors you want to treat them like your old friend from college who has never seen your apartment.’

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XV Beacon is set in a Beaux Arts building down the street from Boston Common. Dark brown mahogany walls form a small and intimate lobby where a Ben Franklin bust greets guests at the check-in counter. Original steel gates from 1903 still enclose the elevator.

Finsilver said the property is set up to feel more like a set of luxury apartments than a traditional hotel. Each room, for example, has its own doorbell.

The furniture, a lavish mix of old and modern in coffee, taupe, and cream tones, is custom ordered. The rooms feature Frette bedding — a brand of high-end Italian linens found in the Vatican and once, the Titanic — and fireplaces light from a bedside switch. Guests can buy the cashmere king-sized “XV” stamped throw draped over the bed for $500.

Andrea Foster, vice president at PKF Consulting, a hospitality firm in San Francisco, said XV Beacon is delivering the personal service that guests want from luxury hotels.

“It’s not just about points and discounts, people want to feel welcome and appreciated and recognized for giving you their business,” she said. “People are looking to have an experience that is unique to them and that’s what XV Beacon does very well.”

Taryn Luna can be reached at taryn.luna@globe.com. Follower her on Twitter @tarynluna.
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